Downtown Waukesha to celebrate Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary
Same rules on Saturday as it is for Friday Night Live
Waukesha's Friday Night Live will turn into Saturday Night Live.
At least for one night.
With Harley-Davidson's 110th Anniversary Celebration taking place this weekend, the Waukesha Downtown Business Association is hosting a special edition of the weekly summer concert series on Saturday evening.
While there won't be nine stages like there are on Friday nights — six are scheduled — the party won't stop.
"The people coming will see some of the best things that we offer on Friday Nights," said downtown business owner and WDBA member Norm Bruce.
Bruce said the WDBA, after deciding at its August meeting that it wanted to have a Harley celebration in downtown, worked with City of Waukesha staff, to run the event in the same manner as its current Friday night event.
As a result, the street closing applied for Friday nights will be used on Saturday. Parking on the streets will be limited after 5 p.m. and the streets will be closed to traffic from 6 to 9 p.m.
The closures are on Main Street from Barstow Street to Maple Avenue and most of Clinton and Broadway streets. Bruce said there will be free parking in the Riverfront Plaza Lot 1 after the Farmer's Market on Saturday.
"It will be an area to showcase the bikes," said Bruce, who added there should also be an information tent set up as well.
Most of same stages
The three Friday Night Live stages that won't have music on Saturday night include outside the Waukesha Civic Theatre, 246 W. Main St.; Thomas Press and Waukesha Freeman, 801 N. Barstow St.; and Reborn Wellness, 259 W. Broadway.
Four of the six acts were scheduled as of Tuesday.
During the 105th Harley-Davidson Anniversary Celebration, Bruce said Andrew Ruggeri and Drew Vallozzi, former partners of The Clarke Hotel and Black Trumpet, brought in the entertainment where the streets were blocked off and intoxicants were available.
"The discussion kept coming up about what to do and we looked at what was done last time when people jammed the downtown when the BoDeans came," Bruce said. "We wanted to make (this year) special but didn't want to necessarily go over the top and not compete with that. We just wanted to show the neat things Waukesha has to offer."
Bruce said the same rules that apply for Friday nights of no open intoxicants on the streets will be followed for Saturday night, along with the no carry-in rules.
More police presence
The WDBA has agreed with department personnel recommendations about adding police officers, trash pick-up and portable bathrooms for visiting guests. The WDBA has paid in advance for these services, he said.
Police Chief Russell Jack said four additional officers will be used for the event. Jack said the normal charge for an officer on overtime is $66.49 per hour, which includes salary and benefits. The total cost is $1,196.82.
"This does not mean we will only have four officers at this event, it just means they are paying for four of the officers we have on duty during the event," Jack said.
When the 105th celebration took place, downtown Waukesha wasn't accustomed to closing off streets as it just started doing this on a regular basis for Friday Night Live a few years ago when safety became an issue.
"The difference now is that we're used to seeing thousands of people come downtown on Fridays," Bruce said. "It becomes easy for us because we have a good template to work from."
Ready for crowd
Hosting a "Harley crowd" will be new for Bernie's Tap Room & Restaurant owners Bob and John Bernhardt, who just opened last fall and have helped rejuvenate the former vacant building at 351 W. Main St.
"This is our first experience with the Harley fest," said Bernhardt, a longtime Waukesha resident who recalled the large crowd five years ago in downtown before he opened the bar. "But we're used to a lot of people walking around the street and enjoying music from Friday Night Live (this summer)."
And when the music stops outside, the brothers are welcoming people inside as they'll have live entertainment both nights.
"We are ready for Saturday night," John said. "Everybody will be working."
Just as bars should be filled, hotels in the area, including the Ramada, 2111 E. Moreland Blvd., should be as well.
The hotel is in a prime location off I-94 and not too far from downtown Waukesha.
General Manager Sue Mehra said some rooms were still available as of late last week, but she expected to be at capacity this weekend.
"It should be just as big (as five years ago)," said Mehra, who was the GM during the 105th celebration. "It should be sold out."
Weekend of events
While there will be numerous events around the area celebrating Harley-Davidson that includes the big celebration over Labor Day weekend at the Henry Maier Festival Park Summerfest Grounds that features 60 high-profile acts, Bruce hopes many make a stop in Waukesha.
It starts with the Friday Night Live music from 6 to 9 p.m. at nine stages in downtown. The series, which started in early June, goes until the end of September. The downtown activities continue with the Farmer's Market, which is from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.
While those events are staples in downtown, Bruce is especially excited to showcase the recent additions to the city that celebrate Waukesha native and music legend Les Paul.
He highlighted the new 10-foot-tall Gibson GuitarTown guitars and playable guitars that are in and outside downtown businesses, the new Waukesha GuitarTown murals that were painted this summer, the new Les Paul exhibit at the Waukesha County Museum and the Les Paul Memorial Monument at the Prairie Home Cemetery that was unveiled two years ago.
"Some great things have happened in Waukesha that weren't here five years ago," Bruce said. "They can discover that and should be pleased with what they see."
At a glance
What: 110th Harley-Davidson Anniversary Celebration
When: 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday
Where: Downtown Waukesha
Entertainment: Jacob Warne at Allô! Chocolat Stage, 234 W. Main St.; Big Kenny Anderson & the All Stars at Cuddles & Martha Merrell’s, 231 W. Main St.; Matthew Schroeder at The Steaming Cup, Peoples Park & Almont Gallery Stage, 340 W. Main St.; Rick D’Amore at Mia’s Stage, 800 Clinton St.; Hannon’s Fine Food & Cocktails Stage, 357 W. Broadway, and Magellan’s on Main Stage, 370 W. Main St., will also have artists that were to be determined as of Tuesday.
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